Tennessee Titans stubbornness will be tested in 2023

Tennessee Titans v Kansas City Chiefs
Tennessee Titans v Kansas City Chiefs / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

One of the most interesting storylines to watch with the Tennessee Titans in 2023 is what happens with cornerback Kristian Fulton.

After the Tennessee Titans' seven-game losing streak to finish the season, there were a lot of questions that needed to be answered. With a GM change underway, Mike Vrabel was going to be put in a position of nearly unchecked power, so when he gave his end-of-the-season address to the media, everyone paid very close attention.

One of the biggest takeaways is that Mike Vrabel believes that soft tissue injuries are directly tied to how hard a player is working in the offseason. Specifically, Vrabel mentioned cornerback Kristian Fulton and linebacker David Long Jr. by name when he was talking about "repeat offenders" who had gotten injured that year.

Fast forward six months and David Long Jr. wasn't given an offer by the Tennessee Titans and he is now on the Miami Dolphins roster. Going into OTAs it seemed like Fulton was living on borrowed time in Nashville and that idea only got stronger when Fulton stayed away from voluntary OTAs.

Here is the twist, Fulton was staying away from OTAs because he was working on a new training regimine that he believed would help him stay healthier than what the Tennessee Titans were doing. Honestly, that makes a lot of sense when you look at the longevity of Derrick Henry and Kevin Byard who have chosen to stay away from the Tennessee Titans training staff in the past.

Now that training camp has started, Kristian Fulton has drawn praise from everyone in attendance including the coaching staff.

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Tennessee Titans DC Shane Bowen is responsible for the most recent praise, saying that Fulton looks better than ever.

It is easy to forget that when Fulton is healthy, he is one of the better young cornerbacks in the NFL.

In his rookie season, he had to deal with the "no DC" abomination of a season where Mike Vrabel and Shane Bowen tried to blend their two defensive philosophies. That was an abject disaster.

After that, Fulton thrived in 2021 when he was consistently making plays against some of the best receivers in the NFL. You could argue that Ryan Tannehill and the defense were the main reasons why the Tennessee Titans were able to lock up the AFC's top seed in the playoffs in the wake of the injuries to A.J. Brown, Julio Jones, and Derrick Henry.

That brings us back to last season when the Titans once again fielded the most injured team in the NFL for the second straight season, and this time Fulton couldn't escape the injury bug as he did for most of the previous season.

If Fulton's change in training leads him to a healthy 2023, it is going to put the Titans in a tough spot. On one hand, Mike Vrabel isn't really someone who appears to change his mind too often, so if he has spent the offseason with the idea that Fulton won't be on the roster then there might not be anything that Fulton can do to change his mind.

However, it really doesn't make sense to let a talented, 25-year-old cornerback walk in free agency when the Tennessee Titans should have more than enough money to pay him.

It is still very early, but keep that storyline in mind as training camp ramps up with the actual NFL season right around the corner.